One of the most common questions people asked me when we were homeschooling was “How many hours does it take to homeschool?” While everyone’s homeschool day is different, we typically spent about 3-4 hours a day doing book and paper (or computer!) homeschool work. The rest of our day was filled with other types of learning – trips to the library, homeschool field trips, meeting up with other homeschoolers, arts classes, etc.
If you’re just starting out on the homeschool journey, one of the most important questions you will need to figure out involves the number of hours you can and should homeschool. How long should you be teaching your kids? How many hours does it take to homeschool? It depends on a lot of different factors.
Homeschool Hour Requirements
The number of hours required for school each day is different in each U.S. state. You can find a complete list of all of the states’ department of education in this article on getting started with homeschooling. Before doing anything else, understand your state’s hour requirements.
Hours also depend on each individual child. Some states even allow extra flexibility on the hours needed based on your child’s state test scores. It varies widely.
The best way to be sure your child has enough school hours is to first check your state’s regulations. Once you have done that, be sure that your method of schooling, as well as your curriculum meets at least those requirements.
How Many Days a Week Do You Homeschool?
After you know how many days and hours your state requires each homeschool year, the next thing to consider is your child’s individual needs. For some families, homeschool 3 days a week is more than fine. They’re able to get the required hours in and spend the other four days of the week doing the things they want to do.
When a new homeschool mom asked me how many daus a week we homeschooled, I answered honestly – it varies. For the most part, we stuck with a five day homeschool week schedule. I found that my kids did well during 3-4 hour school days, five days a week, but not so great when we added a few more hours to the days to make the school week shorter. It all depends on your child, your family’s needs, and the schedule you want to keep.
As long as you get the required hours and days in, your homeschool schedule can look like whatever you make it!
Sample Homeschool Schedule
Does your child need to make up for some extra work or are you trying to do multiple grade levels per year? If either is the case, you may want to add additional learning hours to the school day. Homeschooling more than one child can create a lot of work for you as the teacher, but it can also mean that you’re staggering how and when each child works.
For example, if you know that your middle child works best early in the morning, have him start his lessons earlier in the day. If your teenager does well after he wakes up at 10am, schedule his lessons to start midday. Staggering the hours that your children do their work frees you up to work with each child individually. The downside is that it also makes your homeschool teaching day a lot longer.
Here's an example of a sample homeschool schedule that’s worked for us:
- Child 1: Start working at 7:30am, 1-1 Instruction from 8:00-9:00, Snack at 9am, Resume work and finish at 10:30
- Child 2: Start work at 9am, 1-1 instruction from 9:30-10:30, Snack at 10:30 (check the 1st child’s independent work), Resume work and finish at 12.
- Child 3: Start work at 10:30, 1-1 instruction from 11-12, Lunch at 12 (check the 2nd child’s independent work), Resume work and finish at 2pm. Check independent work.
Obviously, your child’s homeschool schedule will be based on what works best for him and your family.
High School Diploma Requirements and Homeschool Hours
Most states will issue your child a homeschool diploma of some sort. This is part of new legislature that’s being done throughout the country, so check to see if your state has adopted a similar program for homeschoolers. While this high school diploma program is great, it does come with specific requirements.
If you’re homeschooling a high school student, be sure to check out the high school diploma requirements. In most cases there are requirements for which classes need to be taken and how many hours each class needs to be taught for. That can make a huge difference in how many hours a day it takes to homeschool!
How Much Time Does Homeschooling Really Take?
While 3-4 hours a day was great for us, I know plenty of families who homeschool in as little as two hours a day. Can you homeschool in an hour a day? Possibly, but if you’re homeschooling that little each day, you’re going to have to make sure you have the required days and hours in at the end of the school year.
What it doesn’t take is seven hours day to homeschool. So, if you’re imagining a day filled only with homeschool lessons, think again. It’s possible (and easily doable!) to homeschool in just a few hours a day. Being organized, having a consistent routine and schedule, and staying on task makes all the difference!
What questions do you have about how long it takes to homeschool during a day? Leave your questions below and we’ll be happy to answer them for you!